4 December 2018

Submillimeter Array Call for Observing Proposals

Mark Gurwell, Center For Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

Submillimeter Array (SMA) Call for Observing ProposalsThe Large Scale Projects program for observations with the Submillimeter Array (SMA) is now accepting Notices of Intent to propose. Under this program, proposals dedicated to answering major astrophysical questions having significant scientific impact requiring observing times of order 100 to 1,000 hours are solicited. In this communication, we are also pre-announcing the dates for standard observing proposals. These calls are for the 2019A semester with observing period 16 May to 15 November 2019.

The SMA is a reconfigurable interferometric array of eight 6-meter antennas on Maunakea jointly built and operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The array operates in the 230, 345, and 400 GHz bands.

The SMA has recently completed significant upgrades in observational capability, with more under way. Currently, the SMA observes simultaneously with two orthogonally polarized receivers, one in the 230 GHz or 345 GHz band and the other in the 240 GHz or 400 GHz band (with full polarimetric observations available using the 230+240 GHz or 345+400 GHz combinations).

The SWARM correlator processes 8 GHz bandwidth for each receiver in each sideband, for a total of 32 GHz, at a uniform 140 kHz resolution. This 32 GHz frequency coverage can be continuous where the tuning ranges overlap for the two orthogonally polarized receivers. In short, the SMA now provides flexible, wide band frequency coverage that delivers high continuum sensitivity and excellent spectral line capabilities.

A full track offers continuum sensitivity of 200 or 600 micro-Jy (1 sigma) at 230 or 345 GHz in good weather conditions (precipitable water vapor 2.5 mm and 1.0 mm, respectively). The corresponding line sensitivities at 1 km/s resolution are 35 and 80 mJy. The small antennas allow access to low spatial frequencies in the subcompact configuration, and at the other extreme, the finest angular resolution with the very extended configuration at 345 GHz is ~0.25". The compact and extended configurations complete the range.

Thus, in some ways, the characteristics and performance of the SMA are both similar and complementary to those of the standalone Atacama Compact Array component of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. For more information about SMA capabilities, visit the SMA Observer Center website and explore the set of SMA proposing tools. Current and archived SMA Newsletters available online provide a sampling of the wide variety of science possible with the SMA.

The Large Scale Projects program follows a phased development, submission, and review path, with the final selection of successful proposals synchronized with the TAC process for regular proposals. Accordingly, a Notice of Intent is required ahead of full submission.

Deadlines for Large Scale Projects:

  • Notice of Intent: 10 January 2019
  • Full submission: 13 February (US) and 14 February (Taiwan) 2019

Standard Observing Projects:

  • Submissions close: 7 March 2019

A second announcement will be circulated when the standard proposal system opens for submissions. For more details visit the following webpages: 

Questions or comments regarding the call for Large Scale Projects proposals can be addressed to sma-largescale@cfa.harvard.edu and on standard proposals to sma-proposal@cfa.harvard.edu.